Role of Libraries and Librarians/Pedagogy
The ALA White Paper and Environmental Scan on OERs, MOOCs, and Libraries, discusses Libraries and Open Education extensively. The authors refer to a report published in 2010 by Centre for Educational Technology, Interoperability, and Standards regarding libraries’ involvement in activities related to OER, what these activities were, and how important they were to the overall projects. The report, based on a survey, is called The Role of Libraries and Information Professional in OER Initiatives. This survey revealed that the library plays a leading role in the production of OER, with description, classification, management, preservation, dissemination, and promotion, intellectual property and copyright. Additionally:
Expertise of librarians is needed for OER initiatives
Library involvement in OER projects would greatly benefit them
How libraries can support OER
In the article "Open Educational Resources and the higher education environment – A leadership opportunity for libraries," Jensen and West refers to a study done by Washington State Board for community and Technical colleges that survey faculty members at 34 technical and community colleges. This survey found that faculty adopted OER due to:
ability to adopt materials
greater possibilities in collaboration
diversity in resources
reflection on teaching
Additionally, the survey explored what factors were needed so that OERs were successfully adopted. The key indicator was institutional support in their adoption efforts. The areas of support needed include:
Leadership in policy
help in finding quality materials
professional development around copyright, open licensing, and integrated course design
West argues that this is a role that librarians can fill. Some examples of librarians taking the lead in this area Washington include the following the delivery of college wide workshops and consultation to assist faculty in identifying OER in their discipline. The survey indicated that many faculty viewed them as potential OER leaders on campus.
The author argues that there is a need for institutional level leadership in the adoption of OER as a strategy for improving access to student achievement. She argues that in order to become and OER leaders, librarians must be familiar with the resources and organizations available to help grow knowledge and experience. They must also be familiar with advocacy resources, such as the SPARC OER Initiative, the Review Project, and the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources. These resources offer a lot of additional information and hold regular webinars.
In the aforementioned article, Kristi Jensen writes about the Babson survey, which indicated that only 20% of faculty are aware of OER. She argues that this is bad news for OER advocates because there is a huge window for traditional publishers to instill fear, uncertainty, and doubt into faculty members regarding OER.
Jensen presents that fact that libraries have been educating about open access, and have been helping faculty to locate materials for years. They can develop ability to effectively find, and help faculty members search for quality OER that fits curriculum, as this fits well with our area of expertise.
Case Study: The University of Minnesota
Jensen uses the University of Minnesota to illustrate how academic libraries are already getting involved in OER efforts on campus. The University of Minnesota library:
Works with digital course packs that include OER
Has found new opportunities to advocate for OER through coordinated service model on campus to support highly collaborative work with campus partners, to streamline support for teaching and learning on campus
Has developed partnerships with open textbook library and open textbook network
Has helped to develop a faculty incentive program, the Partnership for Affordable Content, in order to explore alternative course materials, in order to enhance teaching and learning and save students money
Overall, Jensen states that libraries are poised to act as key players supporting the adoption of OER because:
Librarians understand issues related to open
For more information on the Babson survey and it's consequences, please see David Wiley's "The Babson OER survey and the Future of OER adoption."
In “OER: The New Paradigm in Academic Libraries,” Mitchell and Chu argue that because textbook costs are so high:
it is important for libraries to provide supplemental educational materials
Librarians have a unique role as translators and mediators between the creators of OER materials, and the content users
Librarians are positioned to help faculty to explore alternative educational materials
The article describes a strategy by California State University San Marco library to collect campus created content and make it available through the institutional repository. Prior to its implementation, a survey was sent to all faculty members to determine existing faculty awareness of library services and to assess the willingness of the community to support free online scholarly materials. The survey:
indicates a strong interest by faculty members for free or reduced cost of educational material
high level of concern about the topic
faculty member do look for alternatives, and they would like the library’s assistance
vast majority of faculty members indicate that the cost of textbooks and other educational materials is important to their course planning
94% express concern about the cost of educational materials.
The authors point out that the 2013 NMC Horizon report indicates that:
Open resources are a major trend to look for in the academe
Authoritative sources are losing their
There is a need for curation for digital resources
They conclude by stating that trends in academia often work well on macro level, however, the survey indicates that faculty members are actually ready for increased usage of OER as well. In UCM case, supported the creation of a repository to house campus created resources.
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